The 40th Birthday whizzed along far quicker than I wanted, but then again 40 years is 40 years whoever you are, it took the same time for me as anyone else so I shouldn’t have been surprised. Midlife crisis? Nah, I’m just as childish now as I’ve ever been, still with the same dreams as I had as a little boy. No tact, no boundaries and I am not changing, what a lovely feeling of freedom! So was I after a fast car? Nope. I was in the mood for a Land Rover Defender, the last time I drove one of these was the year 1990.
I was on the lookout for one, but Mrs Frantony wears the trousers in our relationship and she’s aware I’ve had a few fads in my time.
Then the phone rings, it’s my mother’s father’s auntie’s uncle’s grandson’s brother’s sister sons cousins fathers friend of a friend who knew someone who said he knew of a friend whose neighbours friend of a friend is selling a Land Rover Defender 110, “N” reg year 1996 and its orange.
So immediately I went on my way to see it…..and what was it? Well it was a Land Rover Defender, so they got that bit right, but it was a 90 not a 110, and it wasn’t orange, it was blue and it was “D” reg, making it the year 1987.
I test drove it with the owner sitting in the passenger seat. Now for those of you who have never driven one of these, imagine you’re sitting on a milk crate, that’s on top of an 8×4 sheet of ply, balancing on 4 rocks. Your hands are then holding on to a Ferris wheel that’s welded to a scaffolding bar……if you can? That’s what it’s like!
YEP….You get the idea, thankfully by the power of the Land Rover Defender GODS…….The farmer…..back in 1987 when he bought it new, paid extra for the power steering option….WOO HOO!! Thank you Mr Farmer….whoever you are!
These were my exact words whist test driving the vehicle “What on earth am I doing? I have no idea why I would want one of these?”
It clunked clanked, the steering wheel was so BIG, I had no elbows left after the test drive; the gear box is as loose as a cigarette swinging around in the Albert Hall (now that’s loose…I’m sure you’ll agree).
In fact this is what a Land Rover Defender gear box looks like compared to a normal car
The clutch was heavy, my muscles were growing every time I pressed the pedal, and I had only driven it 3 miles. I wanted to cry, my mind thinking “Shall I still buy it or not?” But I was in a bartering mood and I wanted to see what I could buy it for. Well, after what seemed like days, he cracked before me and the Land Rover was mine.
As I said this was a 1987 Defender 90, so if you turned the heating on HOT in the freezing cold and drove around all day, even if you drove to the Taj Mahal in India and back again….(by the way I live in Wales)…..it will never get warm.
When it rained it leaked, and if it was freezing cold and it rained…..well….. you’d be like a block of ice.
But let me tell you why I LOVE them and what’s GOOD about them and why they’re so UNIQUE! You can drive them anywhere and everywhere, mud or snow it stills feels like you’re driving on a clear road. They take all the stress out of driving, you can park them at any angle in any space and it won’t get dented. You’re able to drive through any gap because the car opposite you will always stop. When it comes to curbs on the side of the road…..it’s impossible to scuff the alloy wheels. The turning circle’s not great but then parking is easy as the front and rear are flat, so you can see each end.
But after five months I decided to sell it and within two days it was sold.
Now this where it gets tricky and something I didn’t see coming, it was as if an S.A.S Land Rover Defender visited me in my dreams and toyed with my psyche every day. I wished I hadn’t sold it, I woke up one morning and I finally realised just how GREAT they are and I needed to be driving another one. I knew that the Land Rover Defender was under my skin.
It was then I had to sit down with Mrs Frantony and tell her the news that I wanted another one but this time with a bit more creature comfort. It took me just over a year to find the right one I wanted, for the right price. So here it is.
If you don’t have one…..then get one, you will smile like you’ve never smiled before!!
So……. on 29th January 2016, at 10am, the last LandRover Defender will roll off the line. What a sad day for such a great iconic vehicle, there is no other vehicle on the road like it…. I think I might cry…….
As this is the Easy blend, I’d thought I’d let you know what I’m listening to. Today it’s Bruce Hornsby and the Range – The way it is.
You can find out more about my book ‘Farrago: Ten Tall Tales’ and buy it here…. (click on the cover)
Until the next Easy Blend blog………..
Stay warm and fuzzy……..